This week I spent a lot of time reflecting about where and why God has us in our lives.
My first reflection came through my great-aunt (via marriage). At 93 years old, one of her comments was, “I’m not sure why God still has me here on earth.” She did not mean it in a disparaging way. She was just looking at her day to day life, living in her assisted living facility and wondering if she was still having an impact for God on this earth.
My second reflection came as I was helping my mother-in-law (along with other family members) begin to prepare for her move from a house that she has lived in for the last 40+ years. We went through boxes of memories, some that she chose to keep and move with her and others she chose to let go of usually with the light-hearted words, “I just can’t keep everything.”
My third reflection was spending time with a friend and former co-worker I had not seen more than 10 years. We worked together about the time my girls were born, but many years had passed and we were reflecting on where God had taken us in life and what direction He might take each of us in the future and how do we know.
Each of these stories ties together for me because in their own way, at different stages of life, they illustrate the desire we all have to find out where God wants us to be. Recently I have noticed how much feelings play into this assessment. If we are happy and fulfilled in life, we rarely question if we are living in God’s will. Yet if we are unhappy, lonely or emotionally unfilled (or missing old friends, faces and places) then we must not be in God’s will. And yet, what I have found, especially over the last year, is that if I will let Him, God can use some the most challenging emotional times in my life to shape me into what He wants me to be.
After my last blog post on how emotionally challenging the transition from being a career mom to being a stay at home mom has been for me, a few friends were worried and asked if I had considered going back to work. I imagine someday that I will go back to work, but I don’t think that the answer to my emotional ups and downs is to run away from them or to find something that will consistently fulfill me. For me the challenge of figuring out what God wants me to do with my life is to make sure I have my feelings in proper perspective. The big question I have been asking myself is: “Are my feelings and life experiences drawing me closer to Him?”
Throughout the last year I’ve come to realize how easily things in my life can fill the place of God in my heart. This has happened to me throughout my life, and rarely do I realize it until after it happens. Often when I grow close to friends or become especially fulfilled in my job or with volunteer work, I realize that my primary fulfillment and satisfaction in life tends to comes from people or work and not my relationship with God. I also realize how easy it then becomes to let those relationships and work/service distract me from God’s will for my life.
So my response to my 93 year old great-aunt: God still has you on this earth for a purpose. To make a difference in the lives of those around you. Everyday God puts people in our lives that He wants us to impact for His Kingdom. Our job is to take life one day at a time, to spend everyday drawing closer to Him, to keep watch for the doors He is opening for us and to walk through them one at a time, trusting and knowing that He is total control of our big picture.